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COMMENTARY:

House Resolution Designates Venezuela a State Sponsor of Terrorism

by Stephen Lendman
Wednesday, 4 November 2009

State terrorism designation—if HR 872 passes—would mean halting normal relations, prohibiting US companies from exporting and operating there, and denying America vitally needed Venezuelan oil.

At a time of growing US poverty, hunger, homelessness, and despair, imperial wars without end, and the Obama administration even worse than its predecessor, Venezuela:

In contrast, America:

In addition, Washington

So consider the hypocrisy. On October 27, Rep. Connie Mack (Rep. FL) introduced HR 872: Calling for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to be designated a state sponsor of terrorism for its support of Iran, Hezbollah, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP). Its sole co-sponsor was Rep. Ron Klein (Dem. FL).

Connie Mack is a notorious right-wing ideologue. In an accompanying statement he said:

"The evidence linking Venezuela's Hugo Chavez to the FARC and Hezbollah - two of the most dangerous terrorist organizations, responsible for many bombings, kidnappings, killings and drug trafficking - is overwhelming. Naming Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism will strengthen the stability of the region. The Administration must not turn a blind eye to Chavez's dangerous aggression and must add Venezuela to the state sponsors of terrorism without delay."

Fact Check

Iran hasn't attacked a neighbor in over 200 years, but has defended itself vigorously when attacked, including during the 1980-88 war with Iraq, a conflict the Carter administration triggered in an attempt to destabilize and weaken both countries.

Noted Latin America expert James Petras calls the FARC-EP the "longest standing, largest peasant-based guerrilla movement in the world (that was) founded in 1964 by two dozen peasant activists (to defend) autonomous rural communities from" Colombian military and paramilitary violence.

Hezbollah is no terrorist organization. It's a legitimate resistance group, and, as a political party, is part of Lebanon's elected government. In addition, it's well respected for providing essential social services, including a network of schools, medical clinics, and organized relief after Israeli South Lebanon bombings in 1993, 1996, and 2006.

Also, according to Aijaz Ahmad writing in the Indian magazine, Frontline:

It's "the only entity which has, through armed resistance, forced the Israelis to relinquish any territory that the Jewish state has ever captured" through decades of regional belligerency.

Mack Attack Round Two

HR 872 is round two for Mack. On March 13, 2008, he and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R. FL) introduced HR 1049 (with eight co-sponsors) "calling for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to be designated a state sponsor of terrorism (and) condemn(ing) the Venezuelan government for it support of terrorist organizations," at that time referring to the FARC-EP. The resolution died in the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Referred there as well, the new one won't fare better. Otherwise the implications are serious as state terrorism designation means halting normal relations, prohibiting US companies from exporting and operating there, and denying America vitally needed Venezuelan oil. It's the nation's fourth largest supplier after Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

In its "State Sponsors of Terrorism Overview," the US State Department imposes the following sanctions:

  1. "A ban on arms-related exports and sales.
  2. Controls over exports of dual-use items (that may be anything, including oil), requiring 30-day Congressional notification for goods and services that could significantly enhance the terrorist-list country's military capability or ability to support terrorism.
  3. Prohibitions on economic assistance.
  4. Imposition of miscellaneous financial and other restrictions, including:

In other words, it halts virtually all normal diplomatic, political and business dealings with "terrorist-list states."

Corporate interests won't tolerate it at a time every business opportunity counts. Nor will Venezuela with strong regional support given the political, security and economic implications.

As long as Bolivarianism flourishes, expect new efforts to vilify, isolate, destabilize, and topple Chavez, no more likely to succeed than others, and here's why. According to the Venezuelan Institute of Data Analysis (IVAD), his latest approval rating tops 62% after nearly 11 years as president. Governing responsibly keeps him popular compared to Barack Obama's noticeable slippage from his post inaugural high.

According to the November 3 Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll, only 28% of voters strongly approve of his performance, 41% strongly disapprove, 46% somewhat approve, 52% somewhat disapprove, and for Congress it's far worse - 15% say its doing a good or excellent job compared to 53% ranking it poor.

Given Washington's inattention to essential needs, watch for even greater erosion compared to Chavez remaining popular by a two-to-one margin - a profile befitting a democrat, not a state-sponsor of terrorism.


Steve Lendman

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national topics. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on November 4, 2009.